Second, first, second so far in previous 2022 WTCS races, the sequence continued with a win today in Germany for New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde at World Triathlon Championship Series Hamburg.
29 seconds back on the swim and a pedestrian T2 didn’t seem to phase The Falcon in any way. Running his way into the lead at the end of lap one, he pushed on from there and in truth looked as though there was a lot more in the tank should he have needed it. He really is in the form of his career right now.
The Hayden Wilde / Alex Yee head-to-head at the Commonwealth Games continues to build as potentially one of the highlights of the year to come. Olympic silver and bronze medallists of course, their rivalry could continue for the next decade.
Taking place just two hours after the thrilling women’s race started at 1335 local time, no material change in temperatures and so of course, it was another non-wetsuit affair today for the Elite Men in Hamburg.
With swim leader Mark Devay (HUN) reaching the first turn buoy in less than three minutes, things appeared to get a little physical midway through the pack. For Devay, and the French duo Vincent Luis and Valentin Morlec, no such concerns at the front of the race as they made the return leg towards the iconic (and dark) tunnel under the bridge.
Luis moved his way to the front of the pack as T1 approached, while behind, despite huge signs and kayaks, a few athletes seemed intent on going the wrong way and missing the correct entrance to the tunnel.
At the exit ramp, it was Luis, Morlec and Devay leading the way, with Mr Consistent, Leo Bergere (FRA), just ten seconds back. In his return to the WTCS series, Mario Mola (ESP) was 29 seconds down. Mola however was likely to have Wilde and Jelle Geens (BEL) for company, so was still very much in the mix.
Bike – It’s a group thing
An initial push on the bike from Luis and Morlec was soon extinguished, and come the end of lap one (of six), we had 37 athletes cross the timing within 13 seconds, broadly split into two groups. With Wilde and Geens among them, it surely wouldn’t be long until we had one very large group on the flat roads of Hamburg.
While a few couldn’t quite hold the pace of the wheel in front, that leading pack was still a significant 33 with four laps remaining, separated by just seven seconds. Notably, Mola, Jacob Birthwhistle (AUS) and Richard Murray (NED) were not part of that race lead.
South Africa’s Jamie Riddle, winner of the Herbalife24 Triathlon Los Angeles, made a bold solo attack on lap three. 23rd in Leeds, it was a brave effort from the youngster in only his third WTCS start, but with Wilde taking control of the vary large pack just a few seconds behind, it was going to require a superhuman efforts from Riddle to make this move stick. Seven seconds at the end of lap four was unlikely to cut it, given the quality of athlete lurking behind.
He was duly swallowed up on lap five, and the same 33 athletes would start the final bike lap within five seconds.
Great Britain’s Sam Dickinson was one of the first off the bike, and while Geens had a great T2, Wilde was rather sluggish and would have a lot of places to make up to continue his impressive 2022 form.
Run – Hayden runs Wild(e)
Barclay Izzard (GBR) was also fabulous in T2 and bravely took the race on in the early stages, before we saw Bergere take over. The Frenchman had recorded six podiums in his last seven WTCS starts – but not stood on the top step yet – could this be his day?
Any initial concerns over Wilde’s T2 could seemingly be forgotten when, much like Flora Duffy earlier, he glided from well down the field up to the leading trio inside the first 2.5km, at which point the leading quartet were Wilde, Matt Hauser (AUS), Bergere and Geens.
The Belgian seemed to blow significantly starting the second and final lap as Wilde increased the pace, while Wilde pulled away from Hauser at the front to continue with the form and favourite status that we gave him pre race. No Yee today, but their showdown at the Commonwealth Games in three weeks time is something to really look forward to. Different class today.
Hauser ran strong for a long overdue Aussie WTCS podium finish, while Morocco’s Jawad Abdelmoula used his running speed to end the podium streak of Bergere with a blue carpet sprint finish.
WTCS Hamburg 2022 Results
Saturday July 9 2022 – ELITE MEN
750m / 20k / 5k
1. Hayden Wilde (NZL) – 53:102. Matt Hauser (AUS) – 53:133. Jawad Abdelmoula (MAR) – 53:264. Leo Bergere (FRA) – 53:295. Jelle Geens (BEL) – 53:366. Tom Richard (FRA) – 53:377. Vasco Vilaca (POR) – 53:388. Joao Silva (POR) – 53:409. Vettle Bergsvik Thorn (NOR) – 53:4210. Lasse Luhrs (GER) – 53:4313. Barclay Izzard (GBR) – 53:4733. Sam Dickinson (GBR) – 54:40
WTCS Rankings Standings after Hamburg
1. Hayden Wilde (NZL) – 3850 points2. Leo Bergere (FRA) – 3493 points3. Jelle Geens (BEL) – 3102 points4. Vasco Vilaca (POR) – 2669 points5. Vincent Luis (FRA) – 2557 points
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